Cold weather doesn't keep me indoors. Using these six tips for winter running, I stay fit even when the temperatures dip.
My next half marathon is set for May. This is the year I'm gunning to break the 1:50 mark. Since I'm not getting any younger (sigh), it's up to me to train harder and smarter. That means I can't let fitness lag during the winter.
Stay motivated with some new running shoes. My expert advice: treat yourself to a new pair of shoes this winter to keep your motivation high! RackRoom Shoes has footwear specifically designed for running at affordable pricing, both online and in more than 400 stores nationwide. I know so many runners who are loathe to spend $100 for new running shoes each season. With Rack Room prices, the guilt is removed. Go ahead and treat yourself!
My top pick is the New Balance 635--it's a classic. This show is designed for runners who have good form and don't require a ton of stabilizing. It's light and flexible--perfect for my distance runs of 5-13 miles and equally good for a beginning runner who is looking to put in 5-10 miles a week. The gray and mint color combo is fresh and pretty, and yes, I like cute running shoes, because style matters to me.
Now that you've got your shoes covered at a great price, let's talk about the other five things you can do to stay healthy and speedy this winter.
Watch the weather and map out a plan: I don't know about you, but I've got to get outside for the vitamin D and the infusion of oxygen. On Sunday night I plan my workouts. Since I can head to yoga or a class any day of the week, I pick my days for outdoor runs according to the weather report. If I see 25 and sunny with low winds, I'm ready. Cross-training takes place on the days with snow, sleet and high winds.
Hydrate: I don't feel like I am sweating much during my winter workouts. This is deceiving. I'm still working hard and getting dehydrated. It's easy to skip the water, so I've got to be extra mindful about drinking water during winter workouts. I try to drink room-temperature water pre and post workout. I find that when the water is too cold I won't drink as much. I'll also sneak in a extra cup of herbal tea in the morning. It still counts as water and doesn't give me the side effects of caffeine.
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Layer up: If my hands, head and feet are happy, I'm good to go on my winter runs. I have a few close-fitting wool and cotton caps that are my go-to toppers. I purchased some great running gloves too--this makes a huge difference. Cold fingers make me miserable. Finally, mind your socks. I run in thin ski socks during the winter. Usually the socks are a blend of wool and synthetics. Having warm extremities makes all the difference in motivating me to get outside even on the most brisk of days.
Warm Up: Cold muscles are more prone to injury. Give yourself time to warm up with a dynamic workout. I do some lunges, leg swings and a few simple stretches to get the blood flowing. Runner's World has a great 5-minute warm-up routine for runners. Once that's done, don't break into a sprint right away. Start off slow and then build to your targeted pace.
Balance it out: Winter is the perfect time to add some yoga into the mix. It's a terrific exercise to support your running since it lengthens muscles and promotes core strength. Try to add a weekly yoga session into your workout plan. I wore the cute New Balance 650 on my way to Yoga Shanti in NYC. The 650 is a great all-around fitness shoe. It's perfect for someone who is getting started with running; it's light while still having a sturdy feel to it. Since it's also great for the gym, I bring this shoe with me on vacations. Bonus: the vibrant teal color makes this shoe perfect for your colorful workout gear.
Now you know how I adjust my workouts to enable me to run throughout the winter season. I hope this helps you get motivated keep taking your workouts outdoors. When spring arrives (and it will!) you'll be in great shape for your 5k, 5-miler or half marathon.
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